Papio-Missouri NRD Supports The OBC Teaching Apiary

Yet again, the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District has come through in a HUGE way to help the Omaha Bee Club accomplish it’s goals of helping local beekeepers and bees to be successful.

With the recommendation of Mr. John Winkler, the General Manager, the Paio-Missouri NRD recently approved supportive funding to help develop and implement the objectives of the Omaha Bee Club Teaching Apiary.

With this support, the OBC is able to provide a place for area beekeepers to get hands on skills training and practice applied beekeeping skills to supplement their own individual learning as well as as a part of organized beekeeper certification programs offered by the Omaha Bee Club.

In addition to directly providing a place for local beekeepers to develop applied skills, the Omaha Bee Club will be able to maintain a number of hives that will participate in an ongoing study of honey bee hives in Nebraska conducted by the UNL Extension program.  By being able to include our “training” hives in this study, we can contribute to the ongoing understanding and improvement of conditions for beekeeping in Nebraska.

We also provide opportunities for groups in the community such as community organizations, home school groups and others to come down and see how bees in a live apiary work.  Lots of opportunities to answer curious questions and teach people to to bee friendly with one of the world’s most beneficial  (to people) pollinating insects.

Thank you Papio-Missouri NRD for everything you have done and continue to do to help the Omaha Bee Club continue it’s mission to help “Build Better Beekeepers Bring Better Bees” in the Omaha/Metro area.

The “Best” method of Beekeeping?

Here at the Omaha Bee Club, we don’t get into all the hoopla about pushing one style of hive over others.  Nor do we try to push people to any one particular management style or approach to beekeeping.

To us, the best beekeeping that can be done is that which is best for you the beekeeper and your bees in the geographic region you are in.  Our mentoring goals encourage our members who mentor new beekeepers to not teach them to be the beekeeper that we are, but to be the best beekeeper they can be.

We want to educate, inform, give opportunities to develop good habits and hands on skills.  We want to provide beekeepers with opportunities to be successful on their own terms.

The Omaha Bee Club does believe that all beekeepers have an obligation as a responsible beekeeper to minimize or eliminate unnecessary stress on the bees.  Stress kills bees, plain and simple.

So, the “Best” way to go about beekeeping?  Whichever way that makes you and your bees most successful.

Omaha Bee Club TShirts Are On Sale Again

Please visit our booster site to order your very own Omaha Bee Club shirts and help the Omaha Bee Club bee our best!

Using this site, you can order from men’s or women’s styles, a variety of sizes and have it delivered to your house or save on delivery by picking up from bulk delivery at the OBC Office after the sale closes.  Follow the link  below to get your OBC shirt and help us bee there for local beekeepers and bees.

OBC TShirts on sale until September 15th.

Omaha Bee Club Project Teams Need You

As the Omaha Bee Club moves forward, we now have specific teams that we need our volunteer hour sustaining members to choose from and participate on regularly.

The Board of the Omaha Bee Club has appointed certain officers who are taking on leadership roles in making sure specific projects are being taken care of properly.

The project teams that you, the volunteer hour sustaining members will need to participate in will be…

Grounds-keeping – Lead by OBC Officer Sandy Zeleny.  Sandy is a Master Gardener and has taken on the task of seeing to it that the grounds and gardens at the bee club teaching apiary are cared for every week.  This is a big job and she needs at least 5 helpers to get the job done right.

Team members will be doing the tasks of mowing, cutting weeds, weeding, watering, planting and otherwise caring for the bee gardens.  With the participation and advisement of the Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners program, we need a dedicated team of people that Sandy can count on to keep our Teaching apiary looking the best it can bee.

Special Events – The special events team is responsible for ensuring we have the minimal number of enthusiastic and capable beekeepers to represent the Omaha Bee Club at public events such as running the Beekeepers Market, staffing a regular booth at the Douglas County Fair in the future and similar events the Omaha Bee Club holds or participates in.

We currently do not have a Bee Club Officer appointed at this time to lead this team.  If you are up to the challenge and the action, please contact a board member.

Operations Team – This team works generally under the direction of the VP of Operations, Bob Loghry.  We are looking to appoint a Bee Club Officer to take on specific organizational team tasks.  Primary among these, coordinating a volunteer team to have the new OBC office open certain days and hours during the week.

All volunteer hour sustaining members have a minimum of 12 hours over the year they are obligated for.  We will be contacting each volunteer hour sustaining member to get them assigned to one of the three teams.

You do not need to be a volunteer hour sustaining member to participate.  We appreciate everyone’s involvement to make the Omaha Bee Club the best local bee club it can be.  Being a Sustaining Member gives a few extra perks for the extra investment of time or money.

Please be considering which team you will be a part of so that we can get the regular schedules set up as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

The Omaha Bee Club Now Has An Office

The Omaha Bee Club now has a place to call home.  We have made arrangements to use office and meeting space in an office suite at the Center Mall on 42 and Center St.

We just acquired the location this week and we will be setting the office up hoping to have it ready for members and visitors next week.

Our plans for the space are to use it as a business office, a home for the bee club library and a lab to teach beekeepers how to diagnose bee maladies and autopsy dead hives.

We will need to build a team of volunteers to maintain office hours on weekdays and Saturdays.  If you have signed up as a Sustaining Member contributing volunteer hours, this will be just the place you can help us going forward.

We want this to be a place area beekeepers can come visit, ask questions, check out beekeeping books and videos or peruse them comfortably right there.  By maintaining regular office hours, we can have a place where people can stop in, join the Omaha Bee Club, get advice and information and even take classes that will only be offered through the bee club.

You will also be able to help the bee club by donating office supplies a n d equipment.  We will need a printer, a small refrigerator to store bee analysis samples, lab equipment such as glass slides and hand held tools,

We will also have the Marion Ellis Collection on display at the new office.  Dr Marion Ellis, Nebraska’s own notable bee researcher, was gracious enough to donate a number of bee and beekeeping themed crafts, knick-knacks and art to the Omaha Bee Club.  We had thought of auctioning or raffling off these pieces but we feel it would be an opportunity to share our appreciation by displaying his collection.

There are so many things we can make happen for area beekeepers with the maintaining of this office.  With your help, it can bee terrific.

More information to come a and we will announce an open house for everyone to come by and see how things are unfolding very soon.

Local Business Partners Help The Omaha Bee Club To Build Better Beekeepers

The Omaha Bee Club would like to give a big thank you to the very generous and supportive sponsor of JP and Schawee coming to Omaha to talk to our area beekeepers.

The Omaha Bee Club is bringing them to Omaha thanks to a very generous sponsorship from Cedric Hartman, Inc, a group of terrific folks in a fascinating business based right here in Omaha, NE.

We love our local business partners who support the mission of the Omaha Bee Club in… “Building Better Beekeepers Brings Better Bees”.

Hive Manipulation Management

There are many times when we open a hive for inspection that the bees get a bit…feisty.  It’s not one of the most fun experiences as a beekeeper when the girls just seem intent on running you off.

This article will try to cover why the bees are getting feisty and what you can do about it.

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Why Are These Bees So Grumpy

Even the calmest, most docile honey bees can have moments where it seems like they are screaming banshees rushing to ensure your gruesome demise.

This can happen when the bees are queen-less and have not made any new queens.  This beehavior is probably more common when the weather is hot and dry or bad weather is on the way.

This can also be a symptom of stressed or harassed hives.  By harassed I mean that something (or someone) is being a persistent threat to the colony.  Skunks, bears, deer, and people are the most likely culprits.

How To Prevent This Behavior

There are some ways to prevent hives from being harassed or stressed and help them bee calmer.  This is on the condition that there is an external stressor causing the issue.  Use fencing, lid weights, and ground defences to reduce direct hive harassment by animals and people.

  • Fences are exclusionary by nature, they keep undesirables out.
  •  Weights on lids, such as bricks, etc… keep raccoons and others from easily opening hive tops to get at the honey inside.
  • Ground defences such as rubber strips with tacks pointing up laid on the ground in front of hives helps to keep rodents and skunks, etc… from harassing the entrance.
  • Always keep notes and be aware of your hive queen’s health and status.  Keep a viable queen in the hive at all times unless she is removed for specific purposes.
  • Avoid unnecessarily opening the hives in obviously stormy or soon to be stormy weather.  Dark, gray skies and low barometric pressure changes can have a marked effect on bees docility.

Sometimes it’s just a given time of year, like hot, dry dog days of Summer and dearth hits.  Flowers aren’t producing nectar and there’s nothing for the foragers to do except beard at home, go get water and wait for an unwitting beekeeper to show up.

As bees get stores full of honey going into Fall, they tend to become more defensive of what they have.  Harvesting honey later in the season can introduce you to some not so gracious hosts in the hive.

Forewarned Is Forearmed

If you find yourself about to open a potentially grumpy hive, think about this first..

  • Is it absolutely necessary?  If it can wait for better weather or conditions, then there is no need to add even more stress to the colony by opening up the hive.
  • If you are convinced you should open the hive, protect both the colony and yourself by using a hive manipulation cloth.  These tools help keep the opening restricted to only about two frames width and don’t allow much space to allow for an explosion of guards.  It also keeps it darker, reducing light going in to the hive and helps preserve the nest environment, scent, etc… to help bees maintain a sense of “normal” while the hive is open.
  • Use smoke sparingly, especially on hotter days.  A little goes a long way and too much smoke can really stress the bees out and send them closer to a frenzy.

Stress is perhaps a honey bee colony’s greatest enemy.  As a beekeeper, it is our job to make things so the bees can maintain populous, healthy colonies.  They can take care of the nest, that’s their primary job.  Your job is to take care of the hive and reduce colony stress from the hive we put them in.

Enjoy your bees.